A determined Scarborough dance teacher is taking on a gruelling trek up five active volcanoes to raise funds for dementia research in honour of her loving nan.
Sarah Wood is setting off with a team of dedicated volunteers on Saturday April 14 to Guatemala to trek five active volcanoes over seven days and raise vital funds for the Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Before jetting off to Central America, Sarah has already topped her target of £2,500.
Her nan Lois Doyle, who helped raise her, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011 after showing symptoms for several years.
Sarah, who runs the Doyle Academy of Irish Dance in Scarborough, wanted to do something to help others with the disease.
The 27-year-old said: “When I went to university, I would try to get back home as much as I could to visit my family, but I started to notice strange things happening.
“One day, there was a pot of boiling water left on the stove when I arrived. I would often find food left in the microwave and dishes weren’t being done.
“I was gutted for her when she was diagnosed. It was a really frightening moment because I didn’t really know what it meant. I had studied it academically as a part of my degree but being part of the experience is completely different.”
The diagnosis was especially devastating for Sarah as her nan helped to raise her while here mum trained to be a nurse.
“When she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I realised I would never get to tell her how much she meant to me, because I don’t think she ever really thought that much of herself. I look back on my childhood and see her as so strong.”
As there are currently no treatments that can slow or prevent dementia, Sarah has often felt like there is nothing she can do to help her nan. So when she saw the trek to Guatemala advertised, she leapt at the chance to help fund research into the condition.
“While she is happy in the care home, I know that it’s not enough. I don’t want other families to have to go through what we’ve been through,” added Sarah. “Seeing my nan having this disease has opened my eyes to how cruel it is, and how badly we need to find new treatments.”
You can donate to Sarah’s JustGiving page by clicking here.